‘Two roads diverged in a yellow wood – and I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference.’ Robert Frost.
Gap years have grown enormously in popularity over the years. They are essentially an opportunity to reset, a time to do something different, to work, volunteer, to travel aimlessly or to travel with a purpose. One can make a difference, enhance skillsets, earn money – all while having the time of your life in as many countries as one can think of! There is one country that we at USA Summer Camp, hold particularly close to our hearts and which is the perfect place for your gap year– the United States of America!
I’m going to say it, the quote that is included in just about every article written about working in the Unites States, but if you can make it there, you really can make it anywhere! The American Dream is still alive and well and there is nowhere better for those looking to improve skills, those looking to network and make connections for the future, for those looking to make a difference, and in truth, those looking for true freedom.
Few countries are more welcoming – the warmest, most hospitable, and kindest people I have ever met have all been American. Few countries have a more varied landscape where one minute you can be in a thriving, melting pot of a metropolis with all of the sights and sounds and culture that some can only dream of experiencing – and then in a few hours, be in a lush and imposing mountain range, or another few hours Westwards, in a desert, and the next day, on a white sand beach!
In addition to the natural phenomena that is on offer across the entirety of the United States, one of the most beneficial aspects of spending time working in such a country is learning the American work ethic. Americans know how to make things happen, they know how to be confident in the workplace, they know that hard work and determination are rewarded, and they know how to have fun while doing it!
It is often said that we learn the most about ourselves by ‘doing.’ I know first-hand, how you may be feeling – whether you are finishing school, or college, or unsure of your path in life, questioning decisions, anxious about the future and unsettled in the present. I have been there. Would you care to know where I got my answers?
Going to summer camp is an American tradition that is almost as old as the Declaration of Independence – or at least it is that ingrained in the American psyche! Each year, children bundle off to camp, wave goodbye to their parents for 8 weeks, full of excitement and the knowledge that they are promised another summer of a lifetime.
Any kid that goes to summer camp lives ‘ten for two.’ Their ten months of regular life are ticked off by the day until they can again spend their summer under the sun, amongst their favorite people, enjoying everything that only an American summer camp can offer. It is not just children, however, that reap the benefits of summer camp. Year on year, counselors flock to the US to experience a summer at camp – and for good reason! Going to summer camp changed my life and so I have compiled a list of the main benefits of a summer (or several summers) of working at an American summer camp.
The prospect of travelling alone – as some choose to undertake a gap year – or even as part of a group, is rather daunting for most people! If you are finishing school, or university, or looking to take a year out from working – but don’t know where or even how to begin, then summer camp could be the perfect launch pad for you!
A summer at camp is an incredibly well supported way to travel. From the minutes you sign up to an agency such as us here at USA Summer Camp, you are taken care of. USA Summer Camp will hold your hand all the way up to you coming home from camp! We are there to help you with your application, to find you your perfect summer camp, to assist you with the visa process, flight bookings, and all the in-between. Your health insurance is covered, your food and accommodation while at camp are covered, and you are guaranteed one of the highest salaries in the camp industry once you sign up with USA Summer Camp!
When I arrived at camp, I told my camp director that I felt as though I found my second home – and we want the same for you! The support does not end once you board the plane to the US. You will arrive at camp and be welcomed into the biggest, craziest, most loving second family you could ever imagine!!
As I mentioned above, your food and accommodation are covered while you are at camp – and camp food is some of the best of American cuisine! Think weekly barbecues under the sun, s’mores around the crackling campfire, and more ice cream than one can dream of – and it’s all covered! Essentially you do not have to spend any money while you are at camp – except for days off which can be budgeted super easily. Not having to buy groceries or even think about what to cook for breakfast, lunch and dinner really was such a break from the real world!
Also, you do not have to pay for your accommodation which is a major bonus now and means that you will have even more savings for travelling after camp! Over 8 weeks of free food and accommodation, with very few expenses, and a big paycheque at the end – what more could you ask for!!
Whenever anyone asks me to describe what it is to be a counselor, I always tell them that you are just a grown-up camper. A summer at camp will quite honestly, enhance every skill you have. Whatever your hobbies and interests are, I promise there is a camp in the US to suit you perfectly. USA Summer Camp works with over 700 camps across the US – from traditional sleepaway camps to day camps, girls scout camps, the list goes on!
I have never had a job where one minute I was paddle boarding, the next I was 3D printing and making robots, and then painting in the art shack and on to coaching basketball, and a private tennis lesson, with a sunbathing session under the bluest of blue skies in between! The activities on offer at American summer camps, as well as the facilities are improving summer after summer. It’s not just for the kids either – the best way to be a counselor is to throw yourself into every activity – whether it’s swimming or rock climbing or a workout in the gym!
Again, all these activities are free at camp and actually… you are getting PAID to do these activities which in the real world are not that cheap! We help hundreds of applicants every year to enjoy these activities under the sun – and you could be the next!
Camps attract counselors from all over the world, and international counselors are highly sought after! I worked with counselors from Australia, South Africa, Ireland, Spain, Mexico, New Zealand, and the US also! The best part of working at camp is being able to open the door of your bunk and know that every person you speak to that day is there for the same reason you are – to have the most amazing summer ever! Spending time with such like-minded individuals makes it insanely easy to make friends, and it’s true that camp friends are the best friends!
Making connections with people from different parts of the globe means that once camp finishes (and unfortunately it does have to) you will know someone in just about every country you could think of! That is a such a positive for when you continue your travels. Not only will you have friends all over the world, but you also could meet lifelong friends with whom you can travel with for a time, or for your entire year!
Employers now view gap years as hugely advantageous! Whereas once, those climbing corporate ladders would have been unable to take time to further other aspects of themselves, now we are encouraged to do so! Employers love to see varied skills, life experience, adaptability, and hard work on any CV, and where better to gain such skills than at summer camp!
Counselors come away from a summer at camp with invaluable experience. Organisation, communication, conflict resolution (only occasionally and usually it’s over ice pops), mediation, public speaking, teamwork, resilience – you name the skill and camp will enhance it. By the end of a summer at camp, you will be transformed in the best possible way! There is no better place to learn more about yourself and others, to grow and learn and love.
If you’re thinking about taking a gap year, then working at an American summer camp could be the perfect option for you! We at USA Summer Camp work with over 700 camps all across the US and know that we will find you your ‘home away from home.’ We have all worked at camp and have experienced its benefits first hand! While taking a gap year might be ‘the road less travelled by,’ we promise that it will make the most amazing difference!!